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N.Y.C. Fireman Loses Fiancee in Explosion

Oct. 3, 1962 - New York City fireman Robert Roth, 22, a strong man, a brave man, wept. The place was the medical examiner’s mortuary, 520 First Ave., at 30th St. The time was 4:55 p.m. The reason was that Roth believed that the body of his fiancée, Margaret Meyer, 22, lay among the 18 dead awaiting identification at this house of sorrow. “She is here,” he said between wrenching sobs. Roth was among the off-duty firemen, policemen, and rescue workers who did what they could in the New York Telephone Co. disaster building. “I saw her, I saw her brown-striped dress as they carried her to an ambulance with others who died. She is here.” There were no more words for a while as Roth fought for composure. Gently, disaster identification experts of the NYPD drew the facts from Roth. Margaret had brown hair and brown eyes. She had a small scar on her forearm. She was 5-foot-4. She and Roth had been engaged for a year. They were to have married next April. “Look for a gold ankle bracelet,” said Roth unsteadily. “Her name is inscribed on one side. My name, Bob, is on the other. Look for her engagement ring. White gold with a diamond and two baguettes.” Now the attendants carried a body to the viewing room. Roth accompanied two policemen to the room. Roth’s eyes clouded with tears. He nodded. He walked away in heartbroken silence.


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